As same sex marriage is increasingly accepted on a state-by-state basis, more and more family and relationship therapists are beginning to stress the importance of pre-marital counseling for same sex partners. While there are many similarities between same sex and heterosexual couples, there are also a few key differences that make pre-marital counseling essential to prevent a same sex couple from divorcing. Same sex couples must face the challenges presented by prejudice and homophobia in addition to community acceptance and choices surrounding family structure. A therapist can help couples sort through some of these issues.
1. One issue unique to same sex couples is the inevitability of prejudice and homophobia. These outside influences can have a tremendous impact on a marriage. Some states have different stances on legal discrimination, health insurance for same sex couples and religion. These are potential boundaries that may harm a marriage if not taken into account.
2. As a couple, you must settle how “out” you want to be with those around you. Some couples choose not to share the romantic elements of their life out of concern that it will shape the way their co-workers and employers view them. Discuss your expectations about showing affection and sharing your married life with friends and family members.
3. Many couples find themselves disappointed after marriage with the amount of passion left in a relationship, often resulting from media depictions and stories from friends. All couples, heterosexual and otherwise, should discuss sexual intimacy before walking down the aisle. Couples should determine how often they expect to be intimate with a partner and express this expectation. The couple should also discuss what is to happen if intimacy fades away.
4. Same sex couples must address the issue of family acceptance and respect. Some families are still not accepting of same sex marriages, and the couple must acknowledge that getting married may change a family dynamic. Bringing these expectations as well as any potential solutions to the table can ease any tensions that arise after a marriage.
5. A therapist or counselor can help a couple discuss compatibility in terms of family structure. This is often a problem for couples of all types. It is vital to determine if the couple wants to have children and how the responsibility of caring for the children will be divvied. The same type of discussion pertains to housework, finances and working outside the home.
It is important that all couples come to therapy with a willingness to move forward and accept responsibility. Both same sex and heterosexual couples will benefit from putting forth a desire to learn more about communicating their own desirese as well as hearing those of their partner. A pre-marital counseling session can help a same sex couple strip away the potential barriers keeping the two parties from having a happy, fulfilling marriage.
Music for events in Los Angeles provides musical entertainment for events and weddings – and is happy to provide music for any same sex marriage in the area. This article was provided by Kate Johnson, who is an educator, family therapist, wife and mother who is committed to helping people get the most out of their relationships. She writes regularly at Online Psychology Degree Guide.